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Haiku Of The Present

Author: Santosh Kumar
Binding: paperback
ISBN: 978-81-903812-9-1
Publisher: Rochak Publishing
Pub. Date: 2011
Price: $10

It is necessary to draw attention to the fact that nowadays we notice that haiku is being written in a format quite different from the three-line haku. Several poets like Marlene Mountain, John Wills, and Matsuo Allard and jim Kacian have used a single line haiku. The fact is that we should not prescribe any technique for writing haiku. This freedom will really enlighten the audience.  Adam Donaldson Powell aptly says in his haiku APHORISM:

seventeen random syllables

don't always add up

to a haiku

While writing this book Haiku for the Present,  I have kept in mind that we should not be enslaved to the 5-7-5 pattern. In fact, some of the best haiku have been written without any blind adherence to 'kigo' and 17 syllables.

Let me quote some of the best  haiku by contemporary poets across the globe

Labyrinth of Vilnius:

a ghost of rain

following me

                  -Ban'ya Natsuishi (Japan)

The two of us

for whom the wind is not enough:


                 -Sayumi Kamakura (Japan)

the world is empty.

So I imbue with meaning

You, mountain ash

                 -Kornelijus Platelis (Lithuania)

 stole my CDs

except Rod Stewart. Junkies

don't like Rod Stewart

                  -Joseph Spence (USA)

The injured dream


a red poppy

                 -Yuko Tange (Japan)

Rain takes a break 

Jaded by its own languor

White clouds and sunlight

                  -Jan Oskar Hansen

mither an dochter

settin aff bulbs  -

the derk yirth

mother and daughter

planting bulbs  -

the dark earth 

(winner kukai 5: haiku Ireland)

                 - John McDonald

Little birds aware

Beg for breadcrumbs to share now

Open beaks devour

                 - Barbara Elizabeth Mercer

the entire world

 a natural rainforest

one tree

                -Suzie Palmer 

Put your nightstick down

Clouds thundering overhead

Wash me clean with rain

                -Scott Michael Potter

Green babbling brook

Sing song blackbird circling

Dragonfly hovers

                -Diana Kwiatkowski Rubin

Bill Cooper, Distinguished University Professor  and President Emeritus, University of Richmond is a born haiku poet. The following haiku by him is an imperishable utterance creating peak of poetry:

childhood park

returning to

a gentle slope

                 -Bill Cooper

The most important thing for a haiku poet is to have passion for truth, beauty and spiritual power.  Great haiku poets always create 'haiku moment'  that with its delicate rainbow hues produces an extraordinary emotional hold on the readers. In the poetry of Homer, Sophocles, Virgil, Dante and Shakespeare we find this 'haiku moment'  though they didn't write haiku. This is precisely the case with the following immortal lines uttered by Lear with  Cordelia's dead body in his arms in Shakespeare's King Lear:

Thou'it come  no more

Never, never, never, never, never!

Prof. Moshé Liba and Albert Russo are able to create 'haiku' moment  in their poems.  Prof. Liba has published more than 60 books, and he writes in six languages. In his poem "A Poem, a week",  the reader is mesmerized by the 'haiku moment' in the last two lines:

I read a poem in Dutch,

the same,

ranslated into Polish.


And it was not

the same

In  Albert Russo, we are amazed at the poet's intensity of impassioned emotion:

I shall spoil you as no lover

Ever has or will

 I have tried in these haiku to present an ideal version of the world. Here we may remember that Azsacra Zarathustra seeks in his haiku "uniting of the Western Wolf of Nihilism and the Eastern Dragon of Negation":


bring back




blood of

a drop


even in Nothing

to leave no


The contemporary disillusionment and loss of spiritual values failed to diminish my faith that our haiku should be inspired by our fellowship with the Almighty God. While writing this haiku book, I talked with God often. I used to talk to Him about my problems.

I was thus motivated to write several sacred haiku included in Haiku of the Present. The following quotes influenced me greatly:

1.     God designed the program of prayer as an 'apprenticeship' for eternal sovereignty with Christ.          

                                                   -Paul E. Billheimer

2.     I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.

-H.G. Wells

3.     "I had rather be in hell with Christ, then be in heaven without him."

-Martin Luther

4. "The man that believes will obey; failure to obey is convincing proof that there is no true faith present. To attempt the impossible God must give faith or there will be none, and He gives faith to the obedient heart only."

-A. W. Tozer

4.     I thank God for the honesty and virility of Jesus religion which makes us face the facts and calls us to take a man's part in the real battle of life. 

-Henry Van Dyke

The haiku included in Haiku of the Present  are influenced by Zen meditation. The Japanese word zen is derived from the Chinese word Chán, taken from the Sanskrit word dhyana (meditation).

The main emphasis of  zen is on the direct experience of our original or Buddha nature. The scriptures and abstract theories of religion are of  no help in self-realization. Zen was founded by Bodhidharma .

The main characteristics of zen are:  zazen (sitting meditation), walking meditation, understanding paradoxical koans (story or dialogue). "The infinite is in the finite of every instant" (zen proverb).   Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett's remark-"Nothing is more real than nothing" gives us the clue to know the essence of zen. 

The Zen followers say: "Just be stll and know." This will increase awareness of the present moment. This reduces stress and tension.

Zen leads to eternal life.  Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen in China in the vth century, taught the practice of "wall-gazing." A Zen monk remarks: "I do nothing. I just sit empty and that's all I do."

The practice of zazen or seated meditation is indispensable for attaining  salvation. Bodhidharma did zazen in  cave for nine years. "For thirty years I did zazen continuously except for two meal periods.  Ryokan  aptly says:

I don't know others

Others don't know me

By not knowing we follow nature's course.

It is my great pleasure to acknowledge my gratitude to Katya Ganeshi who kindly allowed me to use her magnificent photo for the cover. I'm deply thankful to Karunesh Kumar Agrawal for kind cooperation in bringing out this book.

I am greatly obliged to  Adam Donaldson Powell, Albert Russo, Azsacra Zarathustra, Bhuwan Thapaliya, Ban'ya Natsuishi, Dennis E. Newell, Eric Tessier, Floriana Hall, Frieda Groffy, Gary Alexander Azerier ,  James Skinner, Jim Kacian, Joseph Aprile, Joseph Spence, Sr., Louie Levy, María Cristina Azcona, Mario Susko, Moshé Liba, R. Leland Waldrip, Roger W. Harrington, Rosa Maria DelVecchio, Sal Amico M. Buttaci,  Sayumi Kamakura, Shirley Bolstok, Steve Mogg, Steve Morris, Yvonne Sparkes, Wojciech Plocharski.  It is a pleasure to acknowledge, with a very deep sense of gratitude, the help, cooperation, generous support and kindness of these creative authors and artists. 

-Santosh Kumar

Author BIO
Santosh Kumar

Dr. Santosh Kumar (b. 1946) is a poet, short-story writer and an editor from India; DPhil in English; Chief Editor of an international literary journal Taj Mahal Review; several awards; member of World Poets Society (W.P.S.); member of World Haiku Association, Japan; published poetry in Indian Verse by Young Poets (1980), World Poetry (1995 & 1996), The Fabric of A Vision (2001), The Still Horizon (2002), The Golden Wings (2002), Voyages (2003), Symphonies (2003), New Pegasus (2004), Explorers (2004), Dwan (USA), Promise (Purple Rose Publications,USA), TMR 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007). He has also edited sixteen World Poetry Anthologies, and four books of World's Great Short Stories. He is also the author of a collection of poems entitled Helicon (Cyberwit, 2006, India, ISBN 81-901366-8-2). He is able to achieve masterly poetic effects full of a singular beauty and rhythmical artistry in his new collection New Utopia. Wikipedia

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Haiku Of The Present

Haiku Of The Present
Santosh Kumar
ISBN: 978-81-903812-9-1